20 March 2013
It is with great regret that Pan Macmillan announces the death of bestselling novelist, James Herbert OBE. James, aged 69, died peacefully in his bed this morning at his home in Sussex.
James Herbert was born in London’s East End on 8 April 1943. At the age of ten, he won a scholarship to St. Aloysius Grammar School, Highgate, and aged sixteen started studying graphic design, print and photography at the renowned Hornsey College of Art. He then found work in an advertising agency where he rose to the rank of Art Director and Group Head.
He began writing his first novel when he was 28. Ten months later he had completed The Rats, conjuring a London overrun by mutant, flesh-eating rodents. He submitted the manuscript to six publishers, three of whom replied. Of those, two rejected the novel and one accepted it. At its publication in 1974, the first printing of 100,000 copies sold out in three weeks, firmly establishing him as Britain’s leading writer of horror and one of the country’s greatest popular novelists.
The author of twenty-three novels, James Herbert was published in 34 languages including Russian and Chinese and has sold over 54 million copies worldwide. They include The Fog, The Dark, The Survivor, The Magic Cottage, Sepulchre, Haunted, Fluke and Creed, and of course The Rats trilogy, all considered to be classics of the genre, while his later bestsellers including Portent, The Ghosts of Sleath, '48, Others, Once..., Nobody True and The Secret of Crickley Hall all enhanced his reputation as a writer of depth and originality.
Four of his novels, The Rats, The Survivor, Fluke and Haunted were made into films. The Magic Cottage was dramatized for Radio 4 and more recently, last December, The Secret of Crickley Hall was aired as a three-part serial on BBC One.
The paperback of his 23rd novel, Ash, was published just last week.
James Herbert was awarded the OBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours list, the same year he was made the Grand Master of Horror by the World of Horror Convention. James’ popularity with his fans was at its peak in the last few months with a series of sell out public events across the country.
He married his wife, Eileen, in 1967; she survives him with their three daughters, Kerry, Emma, and Casey.
Macmillan Publisher, Jeremy Trevathan, James Herbert’s editor for ten years, says,
“Jim Herbert was one of the keystone authors in a genre that had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. It’s a true testament to his writing and his enduring creativity that his books continued to be huge bestsellers right up until his death. He has the rare distinction that his novels were considered classics of the genre within his lifetime. His death marks the passing of one of the giants of popular fiction in the 20th century.”
If you'd like to leave a message of condolence, please do so on the wall of James Herbert's Facebook page.